A long airplane trip can be deadly and not because of a possible plane crash or terrorist attack, instead a hidden killer awaits. Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a silent killer that affects 2 million American yearly, according to the Heart Institute of America. Of those 2 million affected, nearly 200,000 die from DVT. That’s 200,000 completely preventable deaths and who knows, maybe it could be you next.
Sitting for long periods of time is the major cause of DVT. You don’t have to be traveling for DVT to strike, so use these helpful tips all the time to stay alive.
Blood clots form in the lower leg veins and are sent up towards the heart and brain. If just one of these clots makes its way into the brain you can have a stroke. If a blood clot makes their way into the heart, you could have cardiac arrest. And if the clot makes its way into your lungs or other organ, you can have serious and permanent damage to said organ.
Be on the lookout for symptoms of DVT like pain, tenderness, swelling, redness and increased warmth in a leg. Its best to consult a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms occur. If you have a history of blood clots, heart disease or cancer, it’s best to consult your doctor before going on long excursions.
DVT is a far too common way that travelers die and it’s completely preventable, with some easy habits.
Imagine if you will, an innocent vacation and a long flight could result in your death or serious injury. Your body isn’t supposed to sit in the same position for long periods of time and this immobility can cause blood clots to materialize by having blood flow reduced to certain areas, usually the lower legs. Here are some easy and helpful tips t keep your blood from clotting and your risk of DVT to a minimum. Don’t die on vacation, instead live and enjoy life to the fullest.
A good rule to literally live by is get up and walk every two hours. So, if you are on an 8-hour airplane trip, get up at least 4 times. A quick stroll down the aisle and a few simple stretches can save your life. Try a few toe touches and light kicks to get the blood flowing and keep those pesky clots away.
Don’t sleep for more than 4 hours
Remember, this is when you are in route and not while on vacation. When you are on a plane, car or train, try not to sleep for more than four hours at a time. In between naps, try and take a short walk or stretch your legs to keep the clots at bay. Once you get to your destination, you can sleep your normal time in a bed, the clots form when you are in seated position.
It’s always important to stay hydrated but more so when traveling. Your body will be put to extreme limits when in transit, so keep the water flowing and you should be OK.
Wear loose clothing
This is important to keep the blood flowing normally. Tight waist bands and other articles of clothing can pinch arteries and restrict blood flow, which is a breeding ground for blood clots.
Eat light meals
Don’t eat heavy meals and keep your caloric intake to a minimum while traveling. A heavy stomach in a seated position can put pressure on blood flow. It’s always better to eat healthy when traveling; this also helps with jet lag.
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol isn’t great for our bodies and it affects everyone differently; if you think you may be at risk, then maybe don’t drink on you trip.
If you are elderly or have circulation issues, try wearing a pair of compression socks. These will help with your circulation and keep the blood clots from forming in the first place.
If getting up every two hours isn’t possible, try a few easy exercises you can do seated. Put both legs out straight and move your feet in circles. Try pulling your knees as close to your chest as possible and hold for 15 seconds.
Just by following these few simple steps, you can prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis. No one wants to die on your way to vacation; on your way to work is another story altogether.
Check out the full article on Health.com